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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Five Things You Can Do Before Death to Make Life Easier for Your Loved Ones

Thinking about our own mortality is not a pleasant thought for many individuals. However, our deaths are inevitable. Therefore, instead of focusing on your death, you can focus on ways you can make your passing easier for your loved ones. Our California estate-planning attorneys work with clients to prepare estate plans that protect your loved ones and your assets after your death. In addition to establishing an estate plan, there are other ways you can help your family after your death.

Five Steps You Can Take Now To Make Your Death Easier on Your Loved Ones

  1. Make Funeral Arrangements: Losing a loved one is a deeply emotional experience. It can be difficult for family members to focus on the funeral arrangements as they are grieving your loss. Pre-planning your funeral arrangements can ease some of the stress and anxiety felt by your loved ones after your passing. In addition, by pre-planning your funeral arrangements, you give your family members the peace of mind that they are honoring your wishes regarding music, flowers, clothing, ministers, burial, etc.

  2. Have a Valid Written Will: Your loved ones must probate your estate to transfer your property to your heirs. However, without a will, the task of probating an estate can be more costly, time-consuming, and frustrating. Your family members may know your wishes for distributing your assets, but California’s intestate laws may not allow them to honor your wishes without a valid will. On the other hand, without a will, you leave your family guessing as to what your wishes were for your estate. A will eliminates many of the problems your family faces after your death probating your estate.

  3. Create a packet of information about online accounts: With a majority of our lives being conducted in the virtual world of the internet, it can be difficult for loved ones to know about and access all your online accounts after your death. To make life easier for your loved ones, work with your California estate planning attorney to create an information packet for your online accounts. The packet should be given to your personal representative or another trusted person upon your death. You need to include a list of all online accounts, logins, and passwords so that your personal representative has access to these accounts. For personal emails or social media accounts, you may also want to provide detailed instructions for your personal representative about how to delete the information or preserve this information for your family members. Life Hacker has some useful information about handling these types of accounts in preparation for your death.

  4. Mark Personal Items for Distribution: Your will may divide all property equally between your heirs; however, it is not always easy for family members to divide personal items. Before your death, make a list of personal items and indicate who should receive each item. For instance, you may want your grandmother’s rocking chair to be left to your daughter and your grandfather’s watch to your nephew. Leaving a detailed list for distributing personal items can eliminate the stress your representative may experience for being responsible for dividing your personal property. In addition, including notes on the list as to why you are leaving a specific item to someone helps your family understand your reason for this bequeath. This process can reduce the potential for arguments between family members.

  5. Important Documents and Information: Searching for life insurance policies, estate documents, account numbers, addresses, financial account statements, deeds, titles or registrations, safety deposit locations, credit or loan statements, and other important documents can be stressful. You do not want your family members to worry that they have missed something important. Keeping this information together in one location organized by category can make life much easier for your family after your death.

California Estate Planning Attorney

Creating an estate plan is much more complex than signing a will. Our California estate-planning attorneys work with clients to ensure that all steps are taken to prepare for a person’s death or incapacitation. A comprehensive estate plan is the key to easing the grief and potential financial burden for your family after your death. Contact us today to schedule a consult.


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